TechWatch: Production Sheetfed Inkjet Presses Are Here and Now

A promising method for color production printing is arriving with sheetfed inkjet press technology. To date, nearly all the talk of inkjet presses has been with roll-fed moderate quality, with the exception of one or two vendors. But what about the vast majority of job printing operations that have higher quality requirements and do not have the large print volumes that these roll-fed inkjet devices require?

What if you could feed a B2 sized 29x20-inch sheet of offset paper or board between 16-pound and 20 pt. (80 and 400 gsm) and print a true and honest 14,440 x 14,440 spots per inch of perfected color using pigmented inks in excellent register, delivering a beautiful image?

The press would need to print both fixed and variable imagery and imprint a variety of paper substrates — without having to precoat the paper for inkjet inks, as some models require.

This inkjet sheetfed press should print both standard coated or non-coated paper and board. It should have, at the push of a button, the ability to turn on or off clear overcoat inline on the press and not have to wait, but go immediately into the bindery. Being green-focused, let’s eliminate all plates, related supporting chemicals, water, rags, energy, and hazardous disposal.

Is this merely a pipe dream?

In reality, an inkjet sheetfed production press capable of all this has been successfully running in test plants for the past year and will start showing up on U.S. plant floors by the end of winter quarter. These presses are made by Screen and called Truepress Jet SX.

Looking Under the Hood

Truepress Jet SX is a real press made of metal. Any traditional press operator will feel right at home and like its highly automated operation. The press delivers 1,620 single sided and 820 perfected 29x20-inch sheets an hour. (See cut-away illustration.)

Note Screen SX’s flat straight transport: The inkjet heads arranged in linear arrays image a flat surface, not a curved surface, providing greater control and register of the inkjet head droplet. Heavier board and non-flexible substrates cannot feed or be imaged properly if required to wrap around a cylinder. Thus, the Truepress Jet SX offers greater opportunities in the packaging market. Having evaluated the SX’s press sheets firsthand as well as having shown them to very discerning printers and print buyers, I can assure you they will sell well.

For additional details, contact Screen USA. Visit www.myprintresource.com/10007873 and/or Google for “Truepress Jet SX,” or email me. PN

For more than three decades, Henry Freedman has been working, innovating, creating, educating, and producing new technology for the printing and publishing industries. He is a third-generation printer-turned-scientist-turned-entrepreneur who loves imaging and the opportunities of new printing technologies. Contact Freedman via email at technologywatch@att.net.

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